Lexapro and anxiety (+Is 5mg enough)

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This article will be discussed what anxiety is, its causes, main symptoms, and how to cope with it. Aside from that, it will talk about the use of Lexapro in anxiety treatment and how the use of 5mg of it can affect a person dealing with anxiety.

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What is anxiety?

Anxiety is the most prevalent mental condition in the world. It is a common reaction of your body to stress, all people feel anxiety, but when it gets intense, goes on for a prolonged period,  and starts influencing the person’s life, it might be important to look for professional help to deal with it.

When a person has an anxiety disorder they might feel anxious all the time, if there is something that is affecting them, like moving to a new house or going to a new job, but it can also come even if they don’t have a concrete thing to worry about, it is that constant fear that something bad might happen.

Anxiety may be caused by an imbalance in the brain’s chemistry but it is also influenced by environmental, and genetic factors.

There are types of anxiety disorders, they are:

  • Panic attacks: people usually have them in unexpected times. They also cause, in the person that has it, the fear of when the next attack might happen.
  • Phobia: fear of a specific thing or situation.
  • Social anxiety disorder: the person has an intense fear of being judged by others in social situations.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder: a type that the person needs to perform certain specific attitudes to calm their fear of bad things happening.
  • Separation anxiety: anxiety that comes by the separation of a loved person or thing
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): anxiety caused by experiencing a traumatic event.

Anxiety can lead to an ample range of symptoms, and each person might feel them in different intensities and moments. The most common anxiety symptoms are:

  • Heart rate going up
  • Fast breathing
  • Being unable to relax
  • Problem focusing
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Sweating
  • Numbness or tingling feeling on hands or feet
  • Dry mouth

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Anxiety can be treated by the use of medication, and for that, a person should look for a psychiatrist to help them think about which medication is best. If they are already on medication or don’t have a severe form of depression, there are some things that a person can do to help they cope with anxiety, such as:

  • Meditation

It can help the person focus on the right here and right now instead of what might happen.

  • Taking a warm bath

Taking a warm bath might make the person feel more relaxed.

  • Move your body

By moving your body, a person can put out of their body all the excess energy that anxiety brings in. It might also help you focus your mind on what you are doing at the moment.

  • Count on a support system

It is important, when dealing with anxiety, to have people close to you. That support will help you separate what is fear based on reality and what is related to your anxiety.

What is Lexapro?

Lexapro is a medication, it is the commercial name of the drug escitalopram, which consists of an anti-depression drug. They are selective reuptake inhibitors ( SSRI), medications that work in that, and can have fewer side effects than older types of antidepressants.

It is used against symptoms of anxiety and depression, it affects the person’s serotonin levels. That is, it might balance the level of serotonin a person has in their brain. And since they are brain neurotransmitters that work on the mood and sleep of a person, their use might improve the person’s symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.

Lexapro is used, aside from treating anxiety and depression, as part of the treatment in other mood disorders. But to use it, a person needs to get an appointment with their physician, if possible with a psychiatrist.

What are things to consider before taking Lexapro?

When going on Lexapro, it is important to tell your doctor about your health history. Some health matters can be exacerbated if the person starts taking Lexapro like Bipolar disorder, Glaucoma, Seizures, Low salt levels, and Suicidal thought or behaviors.

Aside from those, other factors might be considered before going on Lexapro. They are:

Having allergies to substances contained in Lexapro

If a person is allergic to escitalopram oxalate, you should not take Lexapro as it can cause you to have allergic reactions such as trouble breathing, swelling of the face, mouth, or tongue.

Being pregnant or breastfeeding

People in that condition should take Lexapro with precaution because the medications can be passed to the baby.

Using it on children

There are not enough studies to show if they are effective in children under 12 years old. So it should be cautious of its use on kids.

The use on older adults

Older adults tend to be more susceptible to the side effects of the medication, so they should be followed closely by their doctor when taking it.

People taking blood thinners

When people taking those medications take Lexapro, the risk of them experiencing bleeding is increased. 

People taking other medications that impact the serotonin level

Having that combination of medication in your system can cause a person to develop serotonin syndrome, which happens when a person has a high level of serotonin in their body that can cause a broad range of symptoms.

Side-effects of Lexapro

When taking Lexapro, people should be aware of its main side effects. They can be light side-effects, and the body might adjust to them, but they can also be severe.

The light side-effects usually are:

  • Change in sleep pattern
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sexual side effect
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Change in weight and eating pattern
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn and stomach pain
  • Faintness

The more severe side-effects can be:

  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Fever
  • Stiff muscles
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

Is 5mg of Lexapro enough for anxiety?

The dosage of Lexapro each person will take will be defined by their physician having in mind their current emotional condition, their age, and weight.

But that usually might be the starting dose of Lexapro, then it goes up to 10mg, and it might go up as the person’s organism adjusts to the medication until it reaches the desired dosage the doctor prescribed. The length of treatment will also change according to the person’s emotional history.

If this is the first episode, the person might take it for 6 months or a year, but if it’s a recurrence or a chronic situation, its use may be extended for a longer period, getting to a few years.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Is 5mg of Lexapro enough for anxiety?

What is the difference, when treating anxiety of Lexapro and Xanax?

While Lexapro is a medication for long-term treatment, for people with anxiety disorder, Xanax which consists of the drug Alprazolam is usually used to treat a person when they are having a panic attack, it is a medication that gives a more instant response than Lexapro, that can take up to weeks to act. Xanax may be taken even a few times a day if the person has many panic attacks.

As for how effective they are, they are both effective when treating anxiety, but Xanax is of a different brand than Lexapro, it is a Benzodiazepine, and when taken together with SSRIs, they can increase the effectiveness. So some doctors might prescribe a combination of the two.

Is Lexapro always effective?

Lexapro proves to be effective to most people, being that it has a rate of 68% of people affirming they had positive effects from the medication, while only 17% reported negative effects of its use.

Does Lexapro cause problems to the heart?

Research that evaluated the electrocardiograms (ECG) of 38 thousand people using various types of antidepressants showed that the use of a few of them can cause arrhythmia.

The antidepressants that had that effect were Citalopram (Celexa), Amitriptyline (Elavil), and escitalopram (Lexapro), and the people that used it had a small disruption in the electrical function of their heart.

Is it hard to stop taking Lexapro?

One might stop taking Lexapro because they are changing their medication or because they got better and are ending their pharmacological treatment.

It might be that coming out of them can lead a person to experience withdrawal symptoms, they can be physical and even emotional ones. The emotional symptoms can be:

Anxiety and concentration difficulties

They can both be caused by the reduction of serotonin levels in the person’s brain.

Depersonalization    

It is when a person doesn’t feel like themselves, it might be a sense of emotionlessness.

Depression or mood swings

If the person stops the medication to change to another one, it can be that once they go off it, the symptoms of depression or mood swings may appear again.

Suicidal thoughts

They might happen when the feeling of withdrawal gets intense. If that’s the case, a person should look for professional help right away.

The physical symptoms of the Lexapro withdrawal can often be similar to what is experienced when the person starts the medication. They can feel:

  • Change in appetite pattern and weight
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or stomach problems
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination

Does it take long for my brain to recover from a mental condition?

After a person goes through depression it might take some time for the brain to recover from it. Once a person is ending their treatment and starts to quit their medications slowly, the brain will start to heal.

When the person is going through depression their brain cell’s hormones won’t grow as much as they would need to, but once you are better, they start growing again. That process lasts a lot longer than healing from the acute symptoms of depression, it might take from 6 to 9 months after the person doesn’t show signs of depression for the brain to recover all of its cognitive functions.

Conclusion

In this article, it was discussed if 5mg of Lexapro is enough to treat a person with anxiety. Aside from that, the article explained what anxiety is, its causes, main symptoms, and possible ways to cope with it aside from medication. 

It also clarified what are the effects of Lexapro on a person’s brain, how they can make the person feel better,  and its possible side effects. 

References

Lader M, Stender K, Bürger V, Nil R. Efficacy and tolerability of escitalopram in 12- and 24-week treatment of social anxiety disorder: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, fixed-dose study. Depress Anxiety. 2004;19(4):241-8.

Bystritsky A, Khalsa SS, Cameron ME, Schiffman J. Current diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorder. P T. 2013 Jan; 38(1): 30-38, 41-44, 57.

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